Operation Rheinübung: Lütjes Reaches Brest

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Peter89
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Re: Operation Rheinübung: Lütjes Reaches Brest

Post by Peter89 » 28 May 2020 10:21

I believe the sinking of the Bismarck at sea meant no real difference, because the ship did not fit into the grand strategy of the Reich. Most likely it would not sank any more merchant ships anyway.

The Eastern front prevented the buildup of a proper air defense, and in absence of that, the French ports were extremely vulnerable. Norvegian ones were somewhat better, but still, each and every capital ships were attacked constantly. The Channel dash should have been made regardless of the condition of the Bismarck. Relocating them further south was an extremely bad idea because the closer they are to Germany the better they will be protected from air attacks.

Naval warfare became combined arms operation, and that was the Achilles' heel of strategy of the German surface units: they did not fit in. IF you want coastal defenses and commerce raiding, you need small, cost-effective units to deal disproportionate amount of damage to the enemy, units that do not require large ports, enormous repair facilities, huge number of personnel, great amount of fuel, and maybe most importantly, constant and dense air cover. IF you want dominance over the seas, you need all of that and more.

It's no wonder that the armed merchant cruisers sank 142 ships grossing over 870.000 tonnes, and even a light cruiser, and all that for 1% of the Bismarck's cost.

See: https://www.bismarck-class.dk/hilfskreu ... ction.html & https://www.navyhistory.org.au/wp-conte ... ph-168.pdf

Long story short, the German big surface units such as the Bismarck were almost completely useless, when the war broke out with the SU, they were strategically doomed.

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Re: Operation Rheinübung: Lütjes Reaches Brest

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Jun 2020 06:11

It looks like the Hipper & Scheer were more or less available May & June 1941. Thats not a lot to add weight to the small feet in the French ports. Having those two sortie in June in tandem with the Geisnau & Prinz Eugen does look like a interesting tactical or operational problem for the Brits

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Takao
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Re: Operation Rheinübung: Lütjes Reaches Brest

Post by Takao » 09 Jun 2020 15:05

Peter89 wrote:
28 May 2020 10:21
I believe the sinking of the Bismarck at sea meant no real difference, because the ship did not fit into the grand strategy of the Reich. Most likely it would not sank any more merchant ships anyway.

The Eastern front prevented the buildup of a proper air defense, and in absence of that, the French ports were extremely vulnerable. Norvegian ones were somewhat better, but still, each and every capital ships were attacked constantly. The Channel dash should have been made regardless of the condition of the Bismarck. Relocating them further south was an extremely bad idea because the closer they are to Germany the better they will be protected from air attacks.

Naval warfare became combined arms operation, and that was the Achilles' heel of strategy of the German surface units: they did not fit in. IF you want coastal defenses and commerce raiding, you need small, cost-effective units to deal disproportionate amount of damage to the enemy, units that do not require large ports, enormous repair facilities, huge number of personnel, great amount of fuel, and maybe most importantly, constant and dense air cover. IF you want dominance over the seas, you need all of that and more.

It's no wonder that the armed merchant cruisers sank 142 ships grossing over 870.000 tonnes, and even a light cruiser, and all that for 1% of the Bismarck's cost.

See: https://www.bismarck-class.dk/hilfskreu ... ction.html & https://www.navyhistory.org.au/wp-conte ... ph-168.pdf

Long story short, the German big surface units such as the Bismarck were almost completely useless, when the war broke out with the SU, they were strategically doomed.
The 4 German battleships did fit in with German grand strategy(the naval twin-pole strategy against Britain)...Had war been delayed until the Z-Plan had been completed. As it was, the war came far too soon, and the 4 BBs had no stablemates to form a 2nd battle group, and no ocean going destroyers for escorts.

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Re: Operation Rheinübung: Lütjes Reaches Brest

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Jun 2020 16:15

The Hipper & Scheer were fairly successful on their raids, but with the Blucher sunk & the other two hulls incomplete that cruiser class were insufficient. Looking at the number of subs operational in June 1941 there don't seem to be enough either..

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Takao
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Re: Operation Rheinübung: Lütjes Reaches Brest

Post by Takao » 10 Jun 2020 01:18

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
09 Jun 2020 16:15
The Hipper & Scheer were fairly successful on their raids, but with the Blucher sunk & the other two hulls incomplete that cruiser class were insufficient. Looking at the number of subs operational in June 1941 there don't seem to be enough either..
I don't know if I would say that.

Hipper undertook 3 raiding forays for 10 ships total(3, 1, and 6). Not very big bags on any voyage.

Scheer had 1 very successful foray where she sank or captured 16 ships, but the rest of her career was never as good. One raid never happened, she took part in the aborted PQ-17 raid, and 2 forays against Russian shipping added very little to her total.

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Re: Operation Rheinübung: Lütjes Reaches Brest

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 12 Jun 2020 18:29

I was counting survival as a large part of sucess. Getting sunk like the Graf Sore, Bismarck, & Scharnhorst counted in the fail column.

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Takao
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Re: Operation Rheinübung: Lütjes Reaches Brest

Post by Takao » 12 Jun 2020 19:16

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
12 Jun 2020 18:29
I was counting survival as a large part of sucess. Getting sunk like the Graf Sore, Bismarck, & Scharnhorst counted in the fail column.
Hard to quantify that. Scheer wound up sunk at pierside, same for Hipper..Is that "failure"?

A warship that remains in port is hardly a "success", unless the cause the enemy to divert more warships to guard against her breaking out, like Tirpitz. I don't recall Scheer & Hipper ever being considered as a fleet in being

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Re: Operation Rheinübung: Lütjes Reaches Brest

Post by Peter89 » 12 Jun 2020 20:45

Takao wrote:
09 Jun 2020 15:05
Peter89 wrote:
28 May 2020 10:21
I believe the sinking of the Bismarck at sea meant no real difference, because the ship did not fit into the grand strategy of the Reich. Most likely it would not sank any more merchant ships anyway.

The Eastern front prevented the buildup of a proper air defense, and in absence of that, the French ports were extremely vulnerable. Norvegian ones were somewhat better, but still, each and every capital ships were attacked constantly. The Channel dash should have been made regardless of the condition of the Bismarck. Relocating them further south was an extremely bad idea because the closer they are to Germany the better they will be protected from air attacks.

Naval warfare became combined arms operation, and that was the Achilles' heel of strategy of the German surface units: they did not fit in. IF you want coastal defenses and commerce raiding, you need small, cost-effective units to deal disproportionate amount of damage to the enemy, units that do not require large ports, enormous repair facilities, huge number of personnel, great amount of fuel, and maybe most importantly, constant and dense air cover. IF you want dominance over the seas, you need all of that and more.

It's no wonder that the armed merchant cruisers sank 142 ships grossing over 870.000 tonnes, and even a light cruiser, and all that for 1% of the Bismarck's cost.

See: https://www.bismarck-class.dk/hilfskreu ... ction.html & https://www.navyhistory.org.au/wp-conte ... ph-168.pdf

Long story short, the German big surface units such as the Bismarck were almost completely useless, when the war broke out with the SU, they were strategically doomed.
The 4 German battleships did fit in with German grand strategy(the naval twin-pole strategy against Britain)...Had war been delayed until the Z-Plan had been completed. As it was, the war came far too soon, and the 4 BBs had no stablemates to form a 2nd battle group, and no ocean going destroyers for escorts.
Yes, but they did not fit in the German strategy from mid-1941, when most of the Wehrmacht was engaged in fighting for objectives with little to no naval significance.

btw I seriously doubt that Plan Z had any real sense without bases, ports, air cover, proper amount of fuel and whatnot. As history showed us, the Bismarck herself was crippled by a not particurarly well-placed, single high caliber shell and a torpedo. So it seems to me that another battlegroup of BBs or an ocean going destroyer squad would not really change anything.

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Re: Operation Rheinübung: Lütjes Reaches Brest

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Jun 2020 00:47

Takao wrote:
12 Jun 2020 19:16
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
12 Jun 2020 18:29
I was counting survival as a large part of sucess. Getting sunk like the Graf Sore, Bismarck, & Scharnhorst counted in the fail column.
Hard to quantify that. Scheer wound up sunk at pierside, same for Hipper..Is that "failure"?

A warship that remains in port is hardly a "success", unless the cause the enemy to divert more warships to guard against her breaking out, like Tirpitz. I don't recall Scheer & Hipper ever being considered as a fleet in being
My take they were part of what the KM had as a FiB. (Cute acronym huh?). In May 1941 there were those two, the ugly sisters, & the Bismarck & consort. OTL its a strategic defeat for the KM. If the Bismarck makes it to port damaged what is it, a wash, potential, a long term strategic success the Brits must deal with ? Is it any better if Lutjens is able to raid the mid Atlantic & make it to France undamaged? At that point there is the Bismarck, Geisnau, and Prinz Eugen in France, Scharnhorst dented, with Hipper & Scheer as a northern threat. Is there any real improvement in the KM position, or is the FiB just shuffled about?

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